Occupying the nocturnal space between the poignant maximalism of Tim Buckley and the codeine dappled beats of Mount Kimbie, Cloud Boat, aka British duo Sam Ricketts and Tom Clarke, bring a gorgeously original and soulful new slant to electronica with ‘Wanderlust’/’Dréan’, the new double A-Side single from their upcoming debut LP, to be released on R&S sister label Apollo Records later in the year. The first time we heard Cloud Boat, of course, was with their R&S single ‘Lions On the Beach’, an iridescent slice of folk-spliced 2-step electronica, shimmering and swooning in all the right places. Making the short hop from R&S to the reactivated sister label Apollo, therefore, seems a natural progression, as their music continues the lineage of classic, experimental records from the likes of Aphex Twin, Mark Van Hoen and Biosphere. Certainly, as proven by their tantalising first taster ‘I Left For A Reason (It Escapes Me Now)’, which went online at the end of 2012, Ricketts and Clarke have definitely not lost their knack at teasing out a gleaming, off-kilter track.
The easy place to go with ‘Wanderlust’/’Dréan’ is emotion – Clarke’s warm, richly expressive vocals ebb and flow beautifully over haunting lyrics like “you won’t find home again, my son” – but the music as a whole signifies anything but easy listening. The instrumentation surrounding it is equal parts sparse, experimental yet powerfully resonant, from the humid beats to Ricketts’ languidly affecting guitar licks, pointing as much to the future as it does to past greats like Steve Reich and Philip Jeck. Ultimately, for what can ostensibly be classified as electronic music, this double A-Side single is a delicate, intimate affair, a beautifully sustained exercise in mood and tension and far more precious and intriguing a record than most others right now.
Wanderlust/Dréan is out now via Apollo. Cloud Boat play The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington tonight.